Sounders-Sporting Kansas City Preview

Amid a hectic schedule that’s already included games in Panama

and Texas, the Seattle Sounders are forced to hit the road once

again.

During that trip, the Sounders will have to face a Sporting

Kansas City club attempting to extend a franchise-best unbeaten run

and maintain its undefeated home record Saturday night.

Seattle prevailed 2-0 in overtime at home over Panama’s San

Francisco FC on Wednesday to advance to the group stages of the

CONCACAF Champions League. That victory, however, also added six

more games to the Sounders’ schedule, beginning Aug. 16 against

Guatemalan club Comunicaciones.

Before resuming international play, Seattle (10-5-8) will have a

couple of league matchups as it tries to bounce back from the end

of a franchise-best, nine-game unbeaten streak (6-0-3).

The Sounders allowed two early goals last Saturday en route to

their 3-1 defeat in Houston and are expected to face more

sweltering heat in Kansas City, where the forecast calls for

temperatures in the mid-90’s at kickoff.

To try to combat potential fatigue, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid

said Wednesday that he was planning on bringing 20 players on this

trip, a couple more than usual.

The Sounders won’t play again until hosting Chivas USA next

Saturday but will have two games per week for much of the following

two months.

“We’ll look how people are and how they recover,” he told the

league’s website. “We’ll travel with 20 … so we don’t have to fly

someone in last minute.”

The Sounders might need all the help they can get against a team

6-0-8 in its last 14 overall and 4-0-4 at the new Livestrong

Sporting Park. Seattle, though, handed Kansas City (7-6-9) its

previous defeat, 1-0 on May 21, and has won both road games in this

series.

In its third of nine straight home games, Sporting KC prevailed

2-0 against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday as Teal Bunbury scored his

second goal in as many contests.

“The guys have really dug down deep to get us back to where we

are right now,” coach Peter Vermes said. “It’s a credit to them and

their perseverance and work ethic game in and game out.”

Roger Espinoza also tallied his second career MLS goal before

drawing a red card and suspension for this match. Sporting KC has

also lost four straight to the Sounders in league play.

Alvaro Fernandez, who had the lone goal in last week’s defeat,

also scored during a 2-1 win at Kansas City on Oct. 9. Jeff Parke

scored in the 90th minute during the matchup in May at CenturyLink

Field.

Sporting Kansas City earned its lone win in five matchups on

April 11, 2009. Davy Arnaud, currently out following sports hernia

surgery, scored the only goal to hand Seattle its first MLS

loss.